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Leonard Ned Johnson
(Harold Reimers)

(Much of the following information was contributed by the Johnson family around 1983 and shared by Vivian Stromberg Le Sueur (now deceased), daughter of Oscar and Marie Reimers Stromberg.)

Harold Reimers was born October 24, 1906, in rural Washburn, North Dakota (McLean County). He was the fifth son of Adolph Ernest Reimers and Anna Marie Jensen. Adolph was born September 16, 1869 in Vijle, Denmark. Anna (Annie) was born February 25, 1872, in Vensysel, Denmark.

Anna died when Harold was only five years old. Adolph remarried in February 1914 to Minnie Clausen.  Work and discipline put a strain on relationships within the family. There were resentments toward Adolph, Minnie, and the older sons.

Harold left home in the spring of his 21st year, riding trains until he settled in Rochelle, Illinois. There he changed his name.  From then on, he would be known as Leonard Ned Johnson. He worked as a farmer.

He met Vivian Adele Roberts at a box social at South Grove School, where Vivian was a teacher. Vivian was the daughter of Frank Clear Roberts and Mertie Louise Earl. She was born December 8, 1905 in Rochelle, Ogle County, Illinois. Her grandfather, John C. Roberts, was one of the founders of Ogle County and owned much of the land surrounding Rochelle.  

The young couple were married on December 27, 1927 by Reverend Bannon in the Trinity Lutheran Parsonage in Rockford, Illinois.  For a while, the couple lived on the Roberts' family farm in Lindenwood, just a few miles from Rochelle.

Their first son, Robert Arthur, was born June 21, 1929.  On December 13, 1931, Charlotte Louise was born, named after Grandma Mertie.  Twins, Stanley Alan and Shirley Ann were born on July 21, 1933; followed by Gerald Ned on April 21, 1935 and Wallace Frank on November 18, 1937.

Within the next eleven years, the four youngest girls were born: Virginia Mae on July 31, 1941; Judith Ann on December 24, 1942; Linda Lee on January 12, 1946; and Marcia Lynn on February 22, 1948.

In 1958, Leonard went to work for Barber Greene as a factory worker, therefore, moving the family to Kirkland, Illinois.  By this time, the five older children had married and had their own homes.  Also, Shirley had died in1952 of pneumonia.  The four youngest girls finished their schooling in Kirkland.  Eventually, they too married or were on their own.

Most of Leonard's children lived in Rockford, Illinois or surrounding areas.  His youngest daughter, Marcia, continued to live in Kirkland, Illinois.  The families have always made a special point to get together on Thanksgiving every year.  Leonard was blessed with thirty-seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Leonard retired in 1971 and worked as a park custodian and gas station attendant until his death in March 1981.  He is buried in Monroe Center, Illinois next to his predeceased daughter, Shirley.  On July 4, 1981, a flagpole and plaque were erected in Kirkland, Illinois Park, dedicated to the memory of Leonard Ned Johnson.  

Marcia Lynn, the youngest daughter of Vivian and Leonard Johnson, died October 10, 1983, as the result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident

The oldest son, Robert Arthur, died April 12, 1992, as the result of injuries that occurred in an accident at his place of work.

Vivian passed away January, 24, 1997 from heart failure.

Shirley's twin brother, Stanley Alan, passed away November 20, 1999 from a heart attack while fishing. Family members have commented that fishing was one of Stanley's favorite activities.

(This story awaits further updates and continuation)